Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

Zambia: MMD Says ACC Summons On Rupiah Banda Is Illegal

Photo: Nation
Zambia President Rupiah Banda inspects a guard of honour during the swearing-in ceremony in Lusaka.

The opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) says it is appalled at the breach of constitution by President Michael Sata and the PF government following the summons served on former Head of State Rupiah Banda for questioning.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has written to former President Rupiah Banda to hand himself over to the Drug Enforcement Commission for interrogations, ignoring his immunity as enshrined in the national constitution.

Under Article 43 of the Zambian constitution states that: (3) A person who has held, but no longer holds, the office of President shall not be charged with a criminal offence or be amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of any court, in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him in his personal capacity while he held office of President, unless the National Assembly has, by resolution, determined that such proceedings would not be contrary to the interests of the State.

President Sata's has instructed the ACC to summon Banda for interrogations in connection to some corrupt activities that took place while he was President, a move some legal experts say may be aimed at pre-emptying his defence when the State moves to remove his immunity.

The MMD the move is a major breach of the Constitution.

As a Party, we do not seek to defend any wrong doing by anyone of us. If there is something wrong done while President Banda was President, that can only be pursued by following constitutional provisions. As of now, President Banda enjoys immunity and this demand for him to face law enforcement agencies is an illegality that must be stopped," MMD leader Never Mumba said.

He said President Sata was behind the move.

"We know that the directive is from President Sata, as he had indicated in the case of Mr. Wynter Kabimba, that the ACC must not summon anyone of high standing without his knowledge.

MMD considers this action as part of the on-going harassment of MMD Leaders, with the hope of destabilizing the Party. We have not re-acted to President Sata in his unreasonable assault on the opposition. His total disregard for the Law and the Constitution he had sworn to defend. Today's action is a step too far. President Rupiah Bwezani Banda enjoys immunity, and any attempt to circumvent his rights and privileges is unconstitutional and will be costly to PF,' he said.

Mumba accused President Sata of trying to divert attention from the questions arising from his anonymous trip.

"This action comes at a time when the PF wishes to side-track the population which was demanding to know the whereabouts of the President and his condition. The action also seeks to divert people's attention from the failed policies of the PF administration.

This blatant disregard for the law and constitution continues to provide the necessary material for the impeachment of the President," Mumba said.

"It has also become obvious that President Sata wishes to freeze the constitution, so that he can govern by decree.

MMD is ready to stop the PF from fatally injuring the democratic gains made under the MMD Leadership. We shall fight using all constitutional avenues available to us, including impeachment, which now remains a strong alternative to stop this president from ruling by decree.

We appeal to all our members nationwide and all Zambians to brace themselves for the worst as PF continues on its crusade of dividing the nation."

He also said it was immoral for the PF government to release the letter from the ACC to all media houses even before President Banda could be served with the letter.

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